Anything a husband can do to ease fears?

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Question from Website Question: My wife is recovering from Stage II, node positive (two nodes) breast cancer. She finished chemo and radiation and is now on tamoxifen. It has been 10 months since the diagnosis, and she is naturally fearful of a recurrence. As a husband, is there anything I can do to allay some of her fears?
Answers - Rosalind Kleban, L.C.S.W. Let's go back to what Marc said a short time ago: hurry up and do nothing. The important thing is to sit by her, hold her hand, do fun things, and listen to her fears. You have to walk a fine line. You want to validate the feeling your wife has without validating the reality of what she's saying. You understand how frightened she is, but you can remind her of the treatment she went through and the good care she received. While most people remain fearful for quite some time, the vast majority of breast cancer patients live long, healthy lives.
Marc Silver I can really relate to your feelings. My wife also had Stage II disease and was very worried about recurrence after her active treatment ended. Her oncologist said something that has really stayed with us. He told Marsha and me, "You can spend all your time worrying about a recurrence. If you never have a recurrence, you've wasted all that time worrying. And if you do have a recurrence, you've still wasted all that time worrying when you could have been enjoying life." That's not to say we don't worry, because we're only human. But we do try to keep his words in mind and to enjoy ourselves a little bit more than we did before cancer entered our lives.

The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called Family and Loved Ones featured Rosalind Kleban, L.C.S.W., author Marc Silver, and moderator Marisa Weiss, M.D. answering your questions about the issues surrounding family members and caregivers living with and caring for women affected by breast cancer.

Editor's Note: This conference took place in September 2004.

The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.

A production of LiveWorld, Inc.
Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.

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